Written by: Nicole Fryling, Senior Director, Graphic Design
Ideally, an agency is involved in branding a candidate’s campaign from start to finish. This includes, but is not limited to, logo creation; font and color selection; and tagline development—all of which set the tone and style for the campaign.
In politics, it is common for candidates to hold on to their logos from previous races – even if these races were from years prior. Even more common is for campaigns to work with various agencies through the years leading to a campaign brand to devolve into a hodgepodge collection of work from multiple firms. At this point a complete redesign is tempting, but I’ll be the first to admit —it is not always necessary (or easy to convince the candidate) to start from scratch. Luckily, there is another way to develop a seemingly new brand that does not involve a complete logo redesign: a campaign rebrand.
Logo redesign vs. campaign rebranding
You might be thinking, well my client already has a logo, isn’t the branding complete? Simple answer, no. Think of this as the turkey at Thanksgiving—yes it may be the main course, but without the sides it would just be a bird on a plate. The logo is the turkey of the candidate’s brand – it doesn’t change much year after year, it does a fine job of attracting a crowd, but the new and improved side dishes are what will draw in your dinner guests. This includes but is not limited to; typefaces, colors, style, voice and vision. It is important to keep your campaign branding up to date to ensure you are staying on trend, properly communicating key messages, and ultimately reaching your target audiences as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Aligning a candidate’s brand with his or her audience
Before diving into a campaign rebrand, it is crucial to properly define a candidate’s target audience. Who are the candidate’s primary supporters? Which demographics are most important to consider? What are your candidate’s values? It is important to be fully knowledgeable about a campaign’s audience to ensure the rebrand not only looks great, but is also as effective as possible.
Improving an existing logo
First off, nothing says outdated like a pixelated logo. If this logo has been through its fair share of races already, chances are the campaign is going to have a hard time tracking down the original design file. If this is the case, and the campaign hands off a blurry .png, be sure your team takes the time to convert the logo to a proper design file. This will pay off exponentially – especially when you are using this logo on just about everything. Even the most unappealing logos have the potential to look professional and clean when in high resolution.
Introduce new typefaces, colors & styles
If the typeface used in a logo is outdated, do not feel obligated to use it on campaign collateral. Ditch the old typeface and pick something new to keep the client’s branding looking fresh and relevant. Additionally, never be afraid to add a new color to a campaign’s current color scheme. Introducing a new color opens up an entirely new world of possibilities for design while still preserving the familiarity of the candidate’s original brand. Get creative with other elements and styles like hand drawn icons or a new pattern to really bring a sense of uniqueness to the campaign.
Bottom line, a pixelated, outdated logo doesn’t mean a campaign’s brand is doomed. There are many steps you can take to develop a candidate’s brand outside of the logo that will make the campaign feel fresh and new without a complete logo redesign.